Bess was the first blogger I ever met in real life. We met up in Guildford station before heading to brunch with several other local lifestyle bloggers. I was running late (as per) and remember thinking how glamorous Bess looked with her red lipstick on. Thoroughly English is just as fabulous as its author – it’s funny, and intelligent, and well-informed. My favourite posts to read are Bess’ recipes. Her food is uncomplicated and unfussy, and reading recipe posts always always leaves me feeling ravenous. Bess took some time out last week to answer some of my questions, so without further ado, let me introduce you to my sweet friend and her beautiful blog!
1. What made you want to start writing a blog? Do you remember what your first post was about? (And, importantly, is it still live? ;) I know so many people delete their first post in shame!)
‘I don’t think it’s still live, but it probably should be. TE has developed so much over the last 18 months, just like I have. I don’t want to go back and take down the awful pictures or terrible wit. I liked it at the time, and hopefully it would still bring pleasure to someone out there. That being said, I wouldn’t trade in my writing knowledge or DSLR now I have them!!!’
2. What three words would you use to describe Thoroughly English?
‘Food, photos, sarcasm…’
3. Do you have a favourite type of post to write? (I personally love your recipe posts. They’re so classic, and unfussy, and always read so beautifully.)
‘Definitely recipes – I think so many people are scared of trying things in the kitchen (particularly when they involve a boiling vat of sugar syrup) but it’s really honestly, truly just not that hard. I try to show that there’s nothing to be intimidated by. I think pictures are really important, because if you know what something is supposed to look like, it gives you all the more confidence that you’re doing it right. I also try and mention the times when things didn’t go according to plan – such as ‘Kale Crisps’ (yeuck). It’s okay not to like something, even if it’s a super hyped up fad of the moment. I’m not perfect and I f-stuff up quite a bit, but at least I can tell you what not to do!’
4. Do you have any goals you’d like your lovely blog to achieve over this next year, or are you excited to just see where it takes you?
‘I’d like to become more food focused, as food really is the place I can pour all of my creative energy into. It’s also something that I do with Daddy TE – which makes it all the more important to me. Since I’ve become a grown up, he’s taught me so many things that I couldn’t have learned anywhere else (sometimes literally – he’s a bit of a clever old sod). For instance, he grew his own sugar, and learnt how to crystallise it – how insanely clever is that?!
A lot of my friends think I’m crazy - particularly when I say I want to do something unconventional, like make chocolate from scratch! I’d love to find readers who love food like me, and want to come along for the ride. (But it’s never going to be a food blog – there’s always room on TE for shoes and soppy moments).’
5. You’re living in beautiful York right now, I believe? How does it compare to Cambridge and Oxford, the other gorgeous cities you’ve been lucky enough to call home? :)
‘York is beautiful – but very small! I’m lucky because there’s a huge independent scene so there’s a great variety of places to go and people to meet. Both Oxford and Cambridge were University towns for me, so I never really experienced them as a resident would. This is the first time I’ve had to carve out a home for myself away from everyone I know, so it’s pretty scary!’
6. What’s made you smile most in the past week or so?
‘Probably making a hidden design heart cake for a Valentines recipe series I’m working on. It”s completely inspired by O with all of his favourite ingredients. Which is funny, because I took it to work and he never saw it! (Oh the tribulations of a blogger-non-blogger romance)’
7. Now for some quick fire questions! Do you prefer sweet, or savoury? Cooking at home, or dining out? Winter months, or summer months? Favourite film? Most loved book? Dream holiday destination?
‘Sweet AND savoury – hello, salted caramel?!
Dining out, but experimenting at home. Making a standard meal without props and photographs doesn’t justify the washing up…
Winter. As I have lupus the sun and I react pretty badly. Give me snow and a log fire every time.
Dangerous Liaisons. (With a sprinkling of Gladiator on hormonal days)
Oh. Um. No. Can’t choose. Harry Potter for sick days, Phillipa Gregory for light reading days and any kind of fantasy or magic for escapist Sundays under a blanket.
Southern USA. All for the foodie culture and cowboys. I want to go for three weeks and gain ten pounds.’
8. And lastly, let’s play a round of ‘desert island discs’! If you were stranded on a desert island, what would you bring with you? You can bring two albums/CDs, two books, ingredients to make two meals, and one luxury item.
‘Shania Twain – Come on Over (blame Daddy TE for that) and anything by Luke Bryan.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, War of the Roses (Conn Iggulden)
Definitely a full roast chicken, with carrot, parsnips, pigs in blankets, crispy Yorkshires and mountains of gravy. If I can’t have that twice, then also salt and pepper prawns and pillowy special fried rice. And sweet chilli sauce – but my recipe, not the yacky white sugar supermarket stuff.’
Thank you so much lovely Bess! Head on over to Thoroughly English now, and start following along with her adventures! :)
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